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Once upon a time, I was called out on color.

Remember that choir gig I love? It seems word of my color addiction has spread.

There I was on Sunday, secretly so excited to be standing on the second row of the choir risers (when you’re short you NEVER get to stand on the second row so this was a momentous occasion, indeed), listening to the pastor announce our new church app.

That’s when it happened.

As he was attempting to describe the app’s icon so it could be easily found in the app store, our pastor turned to ask me what color it should be called. To be fair, it was the second service and I’d already heard him string together a series of adjectives in an attempt to describe the hue in the first service. Being a good parishioner, I meant to download the app after the first service, but there were friends to hug, and their babies to snuggle, and lip gloss to be applied, so I hadn’t quite gotten around to downloading the thing yet. Priorities and all...

Some good news: he didn’t really seem ready to engage in a detailed color dialogue at that moment. Even better news: some precious soul had dimmed the lights around the choir so most attendees didn’t witness my panicked “pause-and-ponder” expression. But there I was...suddenly unsure. Was it a teal blue? A green-blue? Aqua? It really didn’t neatly fit into any major color category:

The Sent Church App Icon.

You see my dilemma, don’t you? Dear Reader...what do you do when you encounter a shade that is not easily named? You Google it. (After the second service, more hugs and lip gloss, and perhaps some lunch).

There are, in fact, many color systems one could consult. Most of us know and revere Pantone’s universal color system, but there is also a set of 140 official web-safe color names all modern browsers support and, of course, every major paint brand applies an as sundry of fanciful names to their many formulas.

Color naming and categorization is truly an ancient science, started when the first humans combined dirt, charcoal, animal fat, and anything else they could find to make a basic palette of red, yellow, brown, black, and white. Sir Isaac Newton is credited to have first invented the concept of the color wheel. But naming color shades is still wholly subjective.

For example, were I to tell you my favorite color is amethyst, Dear Reader you may be thinking of this shade:

Mathematically, an amethyst hue.

while I’m imagining this one:

Also an amethyst hue.

Both are right, but they are not the same mathematical formula. Despite humanity’s long history of categorizing colors into systems, naming the shades within the systems remains a bit whimsical. However, there are a vast number of color shades that you can find with a quick internet search so next time you’re stumped...or, say...standing around when someone needs a color name try a good ol’ fashioned Google!

Oh, and Reader...are you still wondering about the color shade of our church icon? Google says: Cadet Blue!


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